Lots of people seem to be writing about "the game" nowadays, meaning the techniques allowing the men to pick up more women. The idea is probably useful; the actual advice ranges from useful to ridiculous; the writers range from people who sound like they more or less know what they are talking about to people who are pick-up experts in the same sense as a guy who is always in trouble with his residence permit is an immigration expert (I know one of those, too).
The purpose of this post is not to bash the male sex as such for inventing silly rules for picking up women. Embarrassingly enough women were there first, at least in modern times, with The Rules and similar books, and I can't say that the quality of advice was any better when written by women and for women.
One of the main points that the male pickup advisers make is to never take any advice from a woman, because they are all lying or don't really know what they want anyway. If you want to heed this advice, stop reading this post now.
If you are still reading: take this with a grain of salt, anyway, because this is obviously seen through the lens of my life experience, and people in other places might behave very differently from the educated classes of Helsinki, Finland.
Also: I don't actively pick up women, so these are just the thoughts that came to me from watching men pick me up, or pick my friends up in my presence.
First of all, about "women don't know what they want: they want X, but not too much of X". Well, duh! Many qualities are distributed on a bell curve, and many people don't like the extremes of the curve in many cases.
Second, even though this sounds like an instruction on picking me up, it's not really meant as such, and just written on the reasonable assumption that I am definitely not unique.
Basically, there are only two really useful things in picking me up: a) be somebody whom I already know and b) be very attractive physically. A and B and interchangeable to an extent; a well-liked friend can well end up in my bed just by being reasonably cute, and a very beautiful stranger can have the familiarity requirement waived, but if you are neither attractive not previously known to me, just forget it.
There have been exceptions to this, when I was in the mood for experimenting and very young and very bored at the same time. The experimental mood is hard to detect, but you might want to find somebody young and really bored.
Familiarity has its degrees, as does attractiveness. My taste is farther out than most, but they all differ a bit. Remember that if women rate you on a 1-10 attractiveness scale some of them will give you a couple more points than you would receive on average. I don't know how one would go around finding them, though.
Being nice and decent doesn't help much, although failing to do so will hurt. The reason it doesn't help much is that everyone else is nice and decent, too. You are competing against the pool of my single friends and acquaintances, every one of whom is nice and decent. They are intelligent, too.
Sense of humor? Not a big plus, because I suspect all humans have it.
If I am up for casual sex, especially for casual sex with a man I don't know very well, the single thing I hate the most is drama. The worst thing you can show is drama potential. (Oh well, you can turn out to be the new Pol Pot, but I guess this also counts as drama potential.) Any man who makes me suspect that having sex with him once and failing to do so the second time will result in screaming, major depression or broken kitchenware is immediately off the list.
Here is where confidence enters the play. If you are planning on casual sex with me, especially if you don't know me well, you should sound like my "yes" or "no" is not a big deal to you, and if it is "yes", then a subsequent "no" the next time is not a big deal either. Any hint of worshiping is not good.
Negativity is not good either, if you don't know me well. Negativity in general only works with people who know you don't really mean it. Very light negativity might work with strangers, but most people, myself included, don't know how to apply it.
Too much confidence is a bad thing too. This is kind of difficult to notice, because it becomes a bad thing very easily and I am not likely to express it, I just withdraw. (My failure, not yours.) My manner with the people I don't know well is rather gentle; it is a kind of a so-called "shit test": if a guy interprets gently expressed movie/bar/restaurant preference as something he does not have to listen to and compromise with, he is out. (With people whom I know well it's different, we can play tug-of-war with those things.)
As for "being an asshole", which is a misnomer, since said behaviors don't always understand assholicity: ignoring me every once in a while is quite healthy, although this can be and has been overdone. Flirting (and having sex) with other women has practically no effect on me (and I know it's quite unusual). Trying to order me around... well, so far nobody dared.
Basically, be somebody I know, or somebody attractive, otherwise your chances are low. And don't overdo things.
One more thing, but I am not sure how common it is, even in my own circle: early hours of the morning is a really bad time to pick me up. That's the time when I don't usually want anyone, even familiar and attractive. Evening is much better.